tv Q A CSPAN July 10, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
including mr. minus and committee assignments and information on the white house, -- including minutes and committee assignments and information on the white >> this week our guest is nick gillespie. >> nick gillespie, i want to read some words back to you from your book. >> i hope i recognize them. >> senate minority leader, tom daschle, democrat, south dakota, former senator. "precisely the sort of well- coiffed nonentity who passes for a wise man in washington, d.c." nonentity? >> yes, i'd say so. let me put it this way. a couple years ago i read a piece called "the league of undistinguished gentlemen" about the senate, and tom
daschle had a long record of service, does anybody really miss him? in the end he was just a time- passer and he wasn't even a big enough presence for the obama administration to fight for him to be their secretary of health and human services. i don't necessarily mean it as an insult to him or to the senate but let's face it, most of our elected officials even in the world's greatest deliberative chamber are interchangeable. >> you wrote this. "in a world where our choices aren't limited to john boehner and nancy pelosi, the survivors envy the dead." >> yes, i think that's true. >> and explain that? >> what "the declaration of independents" is about is how throughout virtually every aspect of our lives we are seeing greater individualization, personalization, the ability to mongrelize and hybridize our lives and our enjoyments and our very identities, and yet in politics we are still stuck
between dr. jekyll and mr. hyde it's the wolf man versus frankenstein. who is really going to get fired up over nancy pelosi on the one hand or john boehner on the other. they are proxies or short-hands for the incredibly narrow range of choice that we actually have in elected officials in this country. >> these are all leaders. >> yes. >> "representative mitch mcconnell has only in the senate for 26 years, though in fairness it feels like a century." did you write that, was that you? >> i think i'm going to blame my co-author, matt welch, on that one but i would certainly agree with that, and -- and i'm not trying to make -- we are not trying to make light of politics, politics is absolutely important and there are things worth fighting over, but part the problem that we have in this country is that people have tribal royalties to team blue and team red in a way that we don't have these loyalties any more to any other -- nobody
drives -- you don't come across chevrolet families or even toyota families anymore, and i think with the rise of these kinds of mini-me leaders, we've also seen an evacuation of political identification as a core value for most people. the people who are still diehard yellow dog democrats, or diehard republicans, still believe that very much. every survey over the past 40 years shows that people have looser identifications and looser affiliations with these parties. what does john boehner stand for? he is somebody who is now parading around, and i might add that he is my congressman, i live in ohio, my main residence is in ohio and he voted for tarp, he voted for no child left behind, he voted for medicare prescription part d. these are all massive government programs without justification. he voted for the patriot act, for all of the war funding as long as a republican is in the white house and now he's talking about it's time to reduce
government spending. he is not the sort of person bluntly, who walks. he talks the talk. he doesn't walk the walk. i don't think people are like, "finally, somebody, a real leader." >> do you know what question everybody wanted me to ask you? >> about what time am i leaving? >> no. do you always wear that black leather jacket? >> i do have several jackets. i almost always wear black. it became a choice. it kind of evolved over time because it has simplified my life. as a libertarian, i'm a big fan of certain aspects of henry david thoreau's life, certainly his essay on civil disobedience. it's vastly important. he also at various points talked about how you should simplify, simplify, simplify your life, and dressing in black certainly does that. >> when did you start only wearing black? >> i said it evolved over time. i think the point of no return
probably was about 15 years ago, 12 years ago, or something like that. >> how often do people bring it up to you? >> constantly. it's a little tiresome and if i had more energy i'd probably call you out right now. >> what is the biggest most important thing about being a libertarian to you? libertarian to you? >> the biggest thing is to live your life and part of the context of "the declaration of independents," or the pretext is that life is too important to spend it on politics. we didn't win the cold war and destroy east germany so that finally americans in the 21st century would be free to go to more political rallies or organize block parties or start spying on each other. the fight in the cold war was ultimately between a system that said politics was everything versus politics should be a small portion of
your life so you can get on with your life so you can get on with your family, you can get on with your religion, you can get on with your business, you can get on with falling in love and having children, and things like that. the reason i kind of evolved into a libertarian was because it made the most sense to me because it offers a vision of the world in which the things that are most important to us are front and center as opposed to saying what we have to do. we've got to call another vote where 51 percent, or in the case of the 2000 election where 49 percent of the votes gets the population gets to tell the other 50 percent how to live, what to wear, and where to stand in line, and how much to pay. >> where were you born? >> i was born in brooklyn, new york. >> what year? >> in 1963, in methodist hospital. i still must say i was just in brooklyn the past weekend and it is phenomenal. i don't necessarily believe in an afterlife, but brooklyn has certainly been raised from the dead.
it was a horrifying apparition for all the '70s, much of the '80s. when i fly over brooklyn, if i'm going to new york or anywhere west of it, i close my eyes when i go over brooklyn because it just, it fills me with fear and loathing. i was raised in new jersey and i'm always looking out the window to catch another scene from the garden state which i think is the greatest state in the union. >> you referred, and i don't remember exactly how you said this, about your mother, and you used the word dago, is that something she was called when she was growing up? >> sure, yes. >> where was she from? >> my mother was the first generation of her family born in america, she was raised -- her parents came over in the 19- teens, all four of my grandparents were immigrants from old europe, from italy on my mother's side and ireland on my fathers side, and which hugely informs my worldview and also my libertarianism. i'll get to that in a second. my mother grew up in and industrial town, waterbury, connecticut, which is a pretty
horrifying apparition as well. she grew up in an italian ghetto. she didn't speak english until she went to school. she went to school. i've looked up my grandfather, nicole leguidi, who i'm named after. the ship manifesto at ellisisland.org, and they noted things that he was from southern italy, he wasn't from northern italy, because as italians will be quick to tell you africa begins at rome and his complexion was noted in the ship's manifest. he was a little bit dusky i guess, and he never spoke english. his children didn't speak english until they went to school, to grammar school, and by the end of my mother's lifetime not only were italians fully part of the american fabric, but they were one of the exemplary immigrant groups that had assimilated and changed american culture and everything was wonderful. >> how big a slur is calling an entire heritage a dago?
>> it varies and then it's probably worse now than it was say in the 1930's, joe dimaggio, the baseball player, who was one of the first huge italian athletes, sports stars, certainly in baseball, his nickname, which if you go back and read the newspapers his officially published nickname was dago. they would say dago dimaggiohad a good day. i mean it's a reflection of changing times, i mean, a lot of what the book is about is how it's a much better america because we've recognized our kind of individuality and the hybridization of things, and it's interesting that at the same time we are a much more comfortable with somebody. when tiger woods made it big a decade or so ago and called himself a cablinasian, he said he was caucasian, black, indian and asian. that's exactly right, and it's kind of curious that as we become more aware of and comfortable with like a much
broader palette of who counts as an american, we are also sometimes set back by these kinds of ethnic slurs that were in common use 50 or 60 years ago. >> we asked you to come talk with us because of your book "the declaration of independents." >> that's right. >> but we also asked you to talk to us about your reason.tv and "reason magazine." >> right. >> but before i ask you anything about that, let's run just one of your many television clips and explain after this is over what. >> this. >> this is interior designers. >> ok, i was going to say i hope this isn't the episode of "to catch a predator." >> no, it's not. let's run it and we will come back. >> yanza started her own business as president of the designer society of america. she has an extensive portfolio and magazine features. what she doesn't have is a state license. >> i'm not sure if we did ask her if she was licensed. >> should yanza have been forced to go through an extensive licensing process? >> i felt compelled to sponsor the alabama interior design
consumer protection act. the act ensures the health, safety and welfare of the consumer in the state of alabama. >> under the alabama law, moving a throw pillow could get you hard time. practice interior design without a license and you could spend up to a year in jail. >> the public has a right to know when they hire an interior designer that they are hiring a qualified profession. >> why the stiff penalties? it's to protect consumers says asid, the american society of interior designers, an industry group that lobbies for licensing laws. >> interior design is more than meets the eye. >> this asid video suggests that licensed interior designers are uniquely qualified to undertake important jobs like designing kid-friendly library rooms. >> the children's area employs brighter colors and smaller scale furnishings so that children are naturally attracted to the space. >> apparently only government- certified interior designers know that kids like kids'-sized furniture. just imagine what an unlicensed designer might have done.
but the bigger issue is safety. this list "10 ways interior designers save lives" -- was compiled by another group that pushes for licensing laws. did you know that painting prison cells pink saves lives? because the color temporarily neutralizes anger and aggression. notice you never see any pink during prison riots. the same group implies that confusing floor patterns and other items installed by unlicensed designers cause 11,000 deaths each year. >> every decision an interior design makes affects the health, safety and welfare of the public. >> really? does every decision affect health and safety? well, yes, just look at what happens when an unlicensed person like me attempts interior design. >> what's the genesis of that? >> we work sometimes with a great public-interest law firm called the institute for justice, and they do a lot of
licensing cases and they were looking into licensing laws. have changed somewhat in florida about -- whether or not it was -- it's constitutional or it's legal or it's preferable to have interior designers licensed, and a number of states have these laws which are pretty clear rake offs, i mean of just where -- likestates have these kinds of licensing laws because they can and because it's in the interest of certain cartels or politically-connected people to push that. >> we are talking about reason.tv. >> yes. >> as you see it on the left- hand corner, what is that? >> reason.tv is a video website that we launched in october in 2007 with the help and support of drew carey the tv star, sitcom legend, current price is right host, and what had happened is he'd been a long- time reader of reason magazine, he had actually said, which was very flattering, and it's exactly what we are trying to do with the print edition of reason which has been around since 1968, but he said he had
never realized that he was a libertarian until he started reading reason, and he's like ok, that make sense, that makes sense. that's me, that's me. and then he came to us and saidyou guys do a great job with the magazine and with your website but let's make videos, let's figure out how to turn some of these stories into short documentaries that kind of grab at the heartstrings of -- and use current -- cutting edge new media technology. >> is he still on the board of the foundation? >> yes, he is, and he also is -- he appeared last year in a documentary that we did about saving cleveland, his hometown, which was called "how reason saved cleveland with drew carey -- how to fix the mistake on the lake and other once-great american cities," which looked at -- cleveland, one of the great rusted out hulks of a city. what's wrong with it, and how do you kind of revive it, and so that's reason tv. we put out anywhere from about 300 to 400 videos a year.
they are on view at reason.tv or youtube channel as well as reason.com. >> what kind of money does this foundation reason.tv and the magazine, spend a year? >> the overall budget for the reason foundation which is a 501-c nonprofit, is about $7 million or $8 million a year, and i'd say about a third of that. we have a think tank like a policy shop, the tv and the magazine are kind of the three main operational branches, and then a kind of administrative set, and i'd say they each pull about a third of that. >> were you ever a member of a political party? >> no, no. >> do you ever think you would vote always a certain way? >> no. when i vote in elections, i always vote on local bond issues and things like that, because that's where i think my vote is most relevant and also both in terms of -- this is a policy that is going to directly affect me if my hometown decides to raise taxes to build a new
and, in my opinion, completely unnecessary high school, for instance, that's a hypothetical i'll vote on that, and also because elections will be decided by a couple hundred votes. but then in terms of candidates, in my first presidential election that i could vote for was '84, i voted for walter mondale, he didn't win. i've never voted at any level for a candidate for elective office who has won and i think he was the only major party vote i've ever cast. i often will vote for an independent candidate, or a libertarian party candidate, simply because i like the idea of supporting third party candidates, and with the l.p., while i'm not a member, they typically come closer to expressing my political attitudes. >> fill in the blanks. you grew up in brooklyn. >> no, actually i grew up in new jersey, i was born in brooklyn. >> excuse me. i remember you saying that. >> i was delivered to new jersey. >> your father did what? >> my father was an office manager of a shipping company called sea land.
>> what about your mother? >> my mother worked as a bookkeeper, and then she had three kids, took some time off then went back to work in the early '70s. >> where are the other two kids? >> i have an older brother and older sister. my brother lives in lawrenceville, new jersey, and my sister lives in nebraska. >> either one of them political? >> not particularly, i think my sister, when i have conversations with her she leans towards a kind of conservative point of view. libertarian conservative, i don't think she's active in any kind of politics really, and my brother is the person who introduced me to reason magazine. as i mentioned, it's been around since 1968. he went away to college, found it in a college bookstore. he went to rutgers college in, rutgers university in new jersey, as did i. started sending it home to me, and i started reading it in high school, and i was like wow this makes a lot of sense to me. it was really after i went to grad school, i worked for a few years, went to grad school in a
highly politicized environment and that's when i became much more kind of systematic about my political thought. >> where was the grad school? >> at first i went to temple university in philadelphia for a master's degree in english with a concentration in creative writing, and it was a great experience. this was the late '80s. i started in '88 and it was the beginning of what became known as political correctness, where it was just very difficult to get through any casual conversation without politics being front and center, and i knew i was not a conservative in terms literary culture, or cultural studies and things like that, and i also knew that i was not a left-winger, i mean, this is, again, in the late '80s, after i got my master's i went to the state university of new york at buffalo, for a phd in english, and i can remember having conversations with people when the berlin wall fell, and i was like -- don't you think that is pretty phenomenal? and people were like, "it's not really important" because they were still embedded in an idea that castro
was ok, the soviet union was the moral equivalent of the united states. i mean you couldn't even get people to talk about the end of the soviet union. it was very strange. >> you mentioned earlier about drew carey and cleveland and we have a video that was produced. by the way, where do you do these? >> it depends, i mean we do a lot of on-location stuff that we have people. reason foundation is headquartered in los angeles, and we've got a great crew of people out there and then we also have a d.c. office, and we have a bunch of videographers there as well. it's a total of about 10 people. >> and you said drew carey is from cleveland originally? >> he is from cleveland, very much so. >> ok, let's watch one of these, and you'll explain this. >> during the 1990s, cleveland marketed itself as the comeback city and invested hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the rock and roll hall of fame and stadiums for the browns, indians, and cavaliers. >> the city of cleveland is expert at building big white elephants and calling them economic development and it
doesn't work because if you look at the stadiums, you notice the buildings around it are empty. >> the politicians who champion these corporate welfare projects promise that they would stimulate the local economy, and on the face of it, that's precisely what they appear to do. >> they have a baseball game and a football game on the same day, 120,000-some people down there looking for parking, looking for places to eat. >> right. >> tipping the waiters, tipping the valet guys. >> sure there is more action around the stadium on game day, but economic studies consistently find that these kinds of publicly-funded projects fail to increase the overall economic activity. >> they're basically taking the entertainment dollar of a clevelander and saying, they're going to spend it here as opposed to there. >> in pro-sports it's common practice for team owners to threaten to relocate if they don't receive public funding. and clevelanders know all too well what it's like to lose a beloved team, but for a cash- strapped city like cleveland, the price is too steep. >> you'd think a city whose
schools are crumbling, whose roads are crumbling, whose bridges are falling apart, whose economy is in terrible shape, and you're going to subsidize a billionaire team owner? somehow it doesn't make sense to me. >> city officials have not learned their lesson. the city's next redevelopment silver bullet is a new convention center that will require hundreds of millions of additional tax dollars. >> i didn't know cleveland was such a bustling convention city. >> take that vegas. >> what year did you do that one? do you remember? >> yes, we released it in 2010. >> how many did you do on cleveland and what impact has that had? that had? >> well we did a total of six episodes, it's an hour-long documentary. you can watch the whole thing as a single video, or various episodes at reason.tv, and the impact that we had that was pretty interesting is that the city council of cleveland, a guy on it called us up afterwards to say -- hey, why don't you and drew if they could have had their druthers they
wouldn't have invited me, but they said -- why don't you guys come and talk to the city council of cleveland, and we sat down. it was supposed to be a 45- minute conversation and it ended up going about two-and-a-half hours and it was run over cleveland's cable access channel and it was pretty heated and pretty interesting. in the end i don't know we were hoping to kind of develop more of a relationship with cleveland and the hierarchy there to say -- look there are ways that you can turn around cities, there are ways to make schools better for the same amount of money and even for less money. there are ways to develop businesses that don't rely on tax subsidization of white elephant projects which is the way that every sinking city goes. ok, you know what, we know this isn't going to work, but let's dump a ton of money into a convention center, let's build another stadium, let's give a ton of tax breaks to companies that are going to bug out as soon as the tax-break ends. >> but time and time again, that promoters are successful
on getting. >> sure. >> taxpayers to pay for these stadiums? >> yes. you've heard this all through in d.c., like we can't be a big city, we can't be a world class city until we have a money- losing, tax-subsidized, crummy baseball franchise. they get the elected officials to sign off on these projects, and it could be a light rail system, it could be a public- private partnership when you use them and the domain to take private property and turn it over to another private developer to create a bogus shopping area, or whatever, it's very troubling, and hopefullythis is one of the benefits of the current fiscal crisis, which is, that people should start realizing that politicians are not good at development, period. they don't know what to do and the market has a better sense of things and the best thing that government can do is create rules that are sensible and that are predictable, and that don't
change all the time. one of the things that we found in clevelandthey had like over a dozen or two dozen zoning area -- types of zones -- and some of these were artifacts of the industrial past in cleveland and then it's like -- how do you do business? in every business in cleveland when you open something up, when expand it, you've got to go to a -- three or four different zoning board meetings, and that -- that really strangles economic growth in the -- in the crypt. >> let me ask you, and get some very quick answers on this. >> yes. >> if somebody wants to be a libertarian, and if they are a libertarian, well i'll just try you. >> yes. >> what's your brief take on the iraq war? >> the iraq war -- which one? >> the first -- well, in other words the one that started in 2003. >> yes, it was non sequitur based on 9/11 and the war on terror. it was sold as having something to do with fighting global terrorism, even and saddam who was threatening the u.s. with
non-existent. it was a mistake. >> ok. >> and a bad idea, and then incredibly poorly processed. incredibly poorly processed. >> but as a libertarian, were you against it from the beginning? >> yes. >> ok, let's go to afghanistan. >> afghanistan, i think it made sense after 9/11 to hunt down bin laden. he was clearly there, the taliban refused to cough him up. i think it made sense to invade. it does not make sense to be there now a decade later, or more, with not even a clear withdrawal plan. >> what's your take on marijuana? >> marijuana is -- should be legal and it -- it should be as legal and acceptable as booze. >> abortion laws. >> abortion laws, i'm in favor of a woman's right to choose and i think that whenever your take on abortion, and i'd say maybe 30 percent of libertarians are very, very anti-abortion, because they believe that the fetus, at least, at a certain point deserves the rights that everybody else has. government funding should not be involved in abortion but more
to the point, we are at the very early stages of actually controlling our bodies, our biology, our reproduction. i think abortion is becoming less and less important to public discourse and will continue to, as we develop more control over how -- how and under what circumstances we have children. >> the department of education. >> the federal department of education, which came on line in '79 or '80, has had no clear effect on educational results. this is something that is inarguable if you look at the national assessment of educational progress. seniors leaving high schools have exactly the same scores they had in the early '70s when they started tracking this, and that should make everybody at the department of education think about giving up and going home and starting a charter school where they might actually teach kids. >> federal money for politicians to run for office. >> it is quite possibly more disturbing to me than federal money for churches.
it just -- the idea that you would be forced to pay for a political candidate running for office is, i think anathema to -- if that's what's come to pass thenthe american -- the american experiment should be considered a complete failure. >> social security. >> i think social security is a plan that has run its course and i would be in favor of -- i think that there is a role for a government -- a taxpayer- funded social safety net. i do not expect -- i'm 47, i don't expect to collect social security. i would be happy to walk away, keep my money, and let me plan for own retirement without taking 12.5 percent of my income from me. >> the best we can tell, you've been on this network for the last 12 years or so. we went back and found a bunch of clips. we are going to roll this, i just want you to see them. >> ok. >> you can notice on the bottom of the screen the year was -- this goes all the way back to 1999, i believe and just keep your eye on that and see what happens to nick gillespie in the last 11 years or so.
there it is now 2001 appearing on our call-in show, you were the editor-in-chief then of reason magazine. and the next one is 2002, you have the leather jacket on, maybe the same shirt, although you've got a t-shirt on now, there you had what looks like an open-collar shirt. the next one is in 2003, you've got the little white thing there -- not color but it's -- i think that shows up again, you still have that shirt. >> i do. >> and here you are in 2004, you're still editor-in-chief of reason magazine, not much has changed, you have the side burns still. >> yes, i love the sideburns. >> you've had those for how long? >> i think since about two weeks until being born, i appeared. >> that looks like 2005. >> yes. >> although your eyes may be better than mine. >> yes. >> that was our twenty-fifth. >> oh, there is the shirt again. >> there is the shirt again, yes. >> i love that shirt. >> and you still have that shirt? >> oh, yes, yes. >> we are about at the end of all this, are you surprised at how little you've changed in
the last 12 years? >> i'm just glad that i don't seem to have gained as much weight as i thought that i had. i was afraid i as becoming the marlon brando of political commentators. i do want to point out that i'm one of those, when i was talking about -- it was on the twenty-fifth anniversary of c- span, and i was on, i think, one of the first guests on january 1st. >> on the 24-hour thing? >> i thought you were really interesting and stuff, but you were the only person in that whole special show that showed up and dressed like they were going out to wash their car right after the interview, so. >> all right, back to the book. >> yes. >> again, characterizations, david brooks. >> yes. >> a new york times columnist, you called him a big government conservative, what's that. >> yes, yes, he. >> what's that mean? >> he calls himself that. when he was at the weekly standard, he articulated along with william kristol, bill kristol, of the weekly standard, the idea of national greatness conservatism thatwhat conservatives need to really get people's energy up and to
build a winning coalition is to indulge in big, great projects that are of national greatnesslet's build big dams, let's have big wars, let's have big kumbaya moments from a conservative point of view andi'm not a fan of that. matt welch is certainly not a fan of that. and i always bring it back to my grandparents who left europe because they didn't want to be part of somebody else's national greatness plan. >> richard nixon -- you call him the "colossus of yorba linda." >> yes, well that's a reference to the iluminados trilogy by robert anton wilson and robert shea, where throughout it, it's a great parody book of a kind of conspiracy theory that came out in the early to mid-'70s, and throughout it a character is trying to raise money to build a stature in honor of nixon, they called the "colossus of yorba linda." >> what did you think of him? >> of nixon? >> yes. >> nixon is a -- i think he is a fascinating, psychological type and he was an odious
personality, and in a lot of ways, i -- to call him a tragic figure is probably to offer too much grandeur to -- to simply a politician, but it's -- it's fascinating -- what -- what is most fascinating to me about richard nixon is that he couldn't enjoy his victories because he wasjust tormented by what he perceived as his failures. >> it took, here is a quote. "it took saint reagan, the would-be apostle of cutting government, just eight years to triple the federal debt." >> right. >> conservatives who admire ronald regan. >> yes. >> think he was very conservative. >> yes, a lot of libertarians also point to reagan. he is canute holding back the wave wave i'm out of metaphors, but ronald reagan was not a libertarian, certainly he gave a great interview to reason magazine in 1975 after he had left the governorship of left the governorship of california before he was really
weighting into the '76 republican nomination, which he almost got, and he was talking back then. libertarianism is the heart and soul of the conservative movement. that's the real fundamental dna of the gop and then he later in the same interview said, and of course i'm no libertarian, i can go with you on uncertain things, but not on all of drug legalization or allowing people to watch dirty movies, or read certain books, that type of stuff. reagan was a big government conservative, he'd -- not only did he increase spending, he increased spending without paying for it, and more importantly he -- federal -- he brought a lot -- he ran his first campaign, was called the new federalism, his platform, he was going to devolve things to the states. he actually aggregated power into d.c. in a way that was much more than jimmy carter. and he didn't -- carter is the big saint of deregulation. >> you often use historical characters that maybe some of your audience might not know what you're talking about. "the ousting of latter-day marat ", if that's the way you
pronounce it. >> yes. >> it's a french word who -- i did not know who he was but i looked him up and i saw that he had died at the hands of a woman with a knife -- a five- inch knife. >> yes. >> in a bathtub. >> right. >> and they still have the bathtub stuck somewhere over in france. >> yes. >> why did you call "the ousting of latter-day marat ." newt gingrich. >> right. >> from the house of representative what were you getting at? >> well, newt gingrich styled himself as a revolutionary like marat who, along with robespierre, and a bunch of other people pulled off the french revolution which ate its own, and it's clear that in many ways the republican revolution -- or so-called republican revolution in the '90s ended up eating its own and it's kind of fun toliken people to historical characters. >> here is a video. at first i didn't know who it was, but here is a video. this is mike gravel, the former senator. >> yes, it's william castle. >> yes.
>> from "the tingler," which was a movie . william castle did a bunch of gimmick movies. >> let's run this. >> ok. >> good evening, i am former united states senator and recidivist presidential candidate, mike gravel. out of common decency and a court order, i'm obliged to warn you that the 3d reason.tv videos you are about to view are not only terrifying but real. members of the audience who are susceptible to seizures, high blood pressure, and politically-induced rage, should exit their browsers. children, pregnant women and fiscally responsible adults should consult an accountant before watching these videos.
>> reason. tonight's episode, i spend on your grave >> i'm nick gillespie of reason.tv and i want to tell you a tale more terrifying than rahm emanuel in a locker room shower, gaze deeply, if you dare. since world war ii, federal revenue has averaged right around 18 percent gross domestic product. despite all attempts to jack it up through the roof, war cut it down to size. yet federal spending has grown more sharply than al gore during a full-body massage. rising from 16 percent of gdp in 1950 to almost 26 percent this year, and spending is projected to be well over 20 percent of gdp for the foreseeable future. the federal government's balance sheet is in a hole deeper than john boehner's tan. >> where did you do that? >> we did that in the reason office. we have an incredibly talented crew of people. that was the bragg brothers, meredith and austin bragg, who helped out and we've filmed those in 3d.
we did a tie-in with the magazine where we sent out reason-braded 3d specs and you can actually watch them online in 3d if you like. >> when did you do them? >> that was last year, last fall. >> and do you have to go to those great lengths in order to get people's attention? >> well, the joke with that which came out of a conversation was we were trying to figure out why aren't people kind of getting the fiscal problems of the country, and i've suggested that it's because they can only see them in two dimensions, but when they get the third one and really reaches out and grabs them and it hits them in the face, maybe people will be moved to action. and we like to have fun. the most important thing about being a libertarian and it is kind of living your life, it's having fun while you're doing what you're doing, and we've figured that was a good way to kind of call attention or to mix things up a little bit. >> you wrote "in order to secure their futures, politicians and their enablers must romanticize the past as somehow superior to whatever ruinous contemporary moment the
other party has gotten us into"" >> yes, sure. >> explain. >> wellit's -- was are always -- i think the -- when you think about it now, the contemporary writer, conservatives, republicans, always look back to reagan -- oh, things were better under reagan, or whoever, the founding fathersever since gouverneur morris lost his leg, things have just been downhill. and the democrats are all talking about -- oh, gosh, if we could only get back to those great society days, remember how good it was under lbj, or whatever, but they're always casting back to an imagined paradise before the fall when things happened. and it's fascinating when you go back and look at the past, i mean, i remember i used to write a lot about, kind of, the supposed cultural decline of america andbill bennett who has kind of gone missing from public discourse, thankfully, he used to talk about how great the '50s were. and it's like if you go back and read contemporary accounts of the '50s there was "rebel
without a cause." it was "why johnnie can't read"" it was commies everywhere. it was the beats, it was "growing up absurd" by paul goodman it was a horrifying decade that was filled only with comic-book crazed juvenile delinquents and kind of slutty girls who were giving it up all over the place. so, again and again, when you go back -- the way politicians work is motivating people with fear, and they say we need to return to that golden age by giving us more power and more money and more control. >> and now there's this thing about politicians. you write, "democrats or republicans stuffing or potatoes, yankee or red sox, beatles or stones, american politics, it would seem is inherently manikin and duopolistic." >> yes. >> what does that mean? >> i'm not exactly sure, i might have been channeling. >> did you write that? >> yes, i think i might have been channeling seth or edgar casey or somebody at the time.
we make a huge amount of hay out of kind of the petty or the grandiose elaboration of really petty differences, and so the republicans and the democrats, who among us, if you pulled the names off of who did what in the 21st century. is it bush or is it obama? obama is essentially governing as george bush's third term. he has followed all of the bailout economics that george bush got underway, he has increased healthcare spending, or federal control of healthcare or has tried to. like bush did, he has kept us in two wars and added a third to the mix there. paul ryan, ok, he is the darling of conservative budget cutters on the republican side. his budget plan would have us spending about $4.7 trillion in 2021. obama's would be $5.7 trillion.
the difference of that is minimal in the end compared to the vast difference of other people. we are just splitting hairs with the republicans and democrats, but we also feel the need to vilify the other side and that's the manikins . >> of all the videos you've done, we probably don't have it, but which one has gotten the most reaction? >> our largest, most viewed of video is probably one where a videographer who has gone on to do a freelance gig, dan hays caught an off-duty policemen pulling a gun out at a snowball fight in washington d.c. about two winters ago. >> oh, yes, i remember seeing that. >> and that went all over the place, but then we've done other things. meredith bragg did it. it's called "attack ads, circa 1800." we took a couple of clips of people complaining about how 2008 elections. it looks like it's going to be the dirtiest ever, the most vile ever, the most
reprehensible, and then we inter-cut thomas jefferson and john adams, using contemporary slurs against these guys. >> virginia postrel we used to see a lot on this network. >> yes. >> when she was editor of reason magazine. >> yes. >> before you? >> yes, that's right. she hired me. >> but here is a video that drew carey narrates. >> yes. >> and it's about the fact that virginia postrel gave her kidney. >> right. >> one of her kidneys to sally satel who is a doctor, but needed a kidney. >> right. >> and this is about that whole episode. >> yes. >> let's see what it looks like. >> there is one thing we can't try because it's illegal, paying people to donate their kidneys. it sounds really ghoulish. it sounds really icky, but they are your kidneys and it really helps people in need, so if you want to sell one, why not? >> the most straightforward approach would be simply to repeal the federal law that makes it a crime to sell organs.
>> but danovitch says that would be a dreadful mistake. >> because they don't care about each other. >> he says money would take the caring out of the donor- recipient relationship. >> we are going to take the caring out of it, and it has become a matter of paying off people. >> but postrel points out that donors are the only ones in the transplant process who aren't compensated. >> the surgeons are paid, the people that supply their medicines are paid, the people who clean the floors in the hospitals are paid, everybody is paid but not the donors. >> but would people be less likely to help others if money were involved? >> voluntary donors actually feel good about themselves, paid-donation actually is a subversive process that actually undermines voluntary donation. >> you think of soldiers or firefighters. >> we respect their service, we appreciate their heroism but we are also pay them for their work. >> many worry that the poor will be exploited. >> who is it that are going to be donors? they are likely to be people
whose life has gone poorly and they are in trouble. >> but what if donors use the money to buy a house or pay off debt? should that concern us? >> i don't know whether they're paying off a debt for -- i don't know -- child support. >> what's wrong with that? why should we say that poor people aren't allowed to take advantage of being able to be kidney donors? >> who is the doctor? how did you get him to do that? >> he's at ucla medical center it's the majority position. i mean it's the establishment' position, it's illegal to trade in tissues and organs that are not replaceable. you can sell blood plasma and things like that, and maybe bone marrow or certain things. >> what's the reasoning on that, do you think in this society? >> it dates back to an early '70s medical convention where or an agreement that it would demean human life to have trade
in organs and certain types of human products. and it's an interesting question because as drew carey says at the beginning a lot of people find this repulsive. it beats being hooked up to a dialysis machine several days a week and not being able to do anything or dying slowly. that's a video that got a huge response because it really kind of lays out a different way of thinking about things. it's powerful. i mean, at this point i think the only country in the world that actually has something like a flourishing, marketing kidneys is islamic iran of all places. >> there were a lot of stories about the koch brothers giving lots of money. >> yes. >> to the conservatives in this country and the republicans and all that. >> right. >> i notice that -- was it david koch who is on the reason foundation board? >> right. >> what does that say about libertarian and all that, does he give you a lot of money?
>> he's on our board of trustees and he probably gives us -- i don't even know how much off the top of my head. i probably should because i'm a vice president of the foundation, i assume i'm in trouble now . but he's been on our board for a long time. he ran for vice president on the libertarian ticket in 1980 where he ran to the left of both the democrats and the republicans. he was calling for the end of the fbi and the cia for god sakes. i mean one of the things about the attacks on the koch brothers, and i've met charles koch as well. i've had a few brief interactions with david as well. one claim is that they're hiding the ball on what they do. they fund a huge amount of staff including things like the new york city ballet and stuff like that, and they do fund libertarian organizations. charles koch was one of the founding partners of the cato institute, but they are totally open about it.
david koch's name has been on our mast and on our board of trustees. there is another dozen people on there for as long as he's been part of it. >> when did you make the shift from being the editor of the magazine to running reason.tv? >> well i started at the magazine virginia postrel hired me in 1993. she moved on to write books fulltime. she was writing columns at various other places. in 2000 i became editor of the magazine -- in 2000 and then late 2007/early 2008 i became editor-in-chief of reason.tv, when we brought matt welch, my co-author of "declaration of independents," who had worked for the magazine and then gone over to the l.a.times. >> and why did you do it? >> well part of it was because, to be blunt, i've been working at the magazine for a long time. i was a bit burnt out on print journalism but as much as anything it was that when we knew matt who had written a book about john mccain in 2000 that
came out in 2008. he would be awesome to edit the magazine and he's done a fantastic job since then, and we needed somebody to head up reason.tv. reason.tv. i was like, let me take a shot at it. i have a strong interest in that. >> should we assume that jack and neal, who you dedicate the book to are your sons? >> yes, they are my two sons. my son jack, who is actually john but we call him jack, he is 17, and my older son neal is about to turn 10. >> are you married? >> i am divorced. their mother and i had a long relationship. we were both fans of the beatniks essentially. we named our kids after jack kerouac and neal cassady. >> and what's this about living in washington and in oxford, ohio? >> i'm in d.c. on a regular basis but my residence is, for
tax purposes, voting, et cetera, and because my kids are there, i have them half-time, and so i'm there with them basically every other week. >> why are they there? >> because my ex-wife is an english professor at miami university of ohio. >> miami of ohio. >> yes. >> you've said in 2003 in an interview "i do not believe in god." >> yes, that's right. i'm a huge admirer of religion as a kind of social force, often for good, sometimes for ill. i was raised catholic. i define myself, and it's on my facebook page as a matter of fact, i'm an apatheist. the questions about the existence of god are not particularly pressing for me. >> why? >> i don't have a strong calling to faith, i suppose. >> and when did that start? >> my late grammar school
years, at st. mary's let's blame it on st. mary's parochial school, near monmouth. >> in new jersey? >> near monmouth, new jersey, part of middletown. >> i'm sure they'll be glad to hear that. >> yes, i think so. >> another video. this is about so many things in this country which are banned. >> welcome to the nanny state nation where the government minds your own business. saggy pants, fire places, plastic bags, light bulbs, poker. it's all been banned somewhere. the same with keeping swine or fowl or feeding pigeons, owning pit bulls and chopping on foie gras or trans-fats, a naughty little substance that makes foods like this taste batter. say, you don't want to want to stop serving trans-fats in your restaurant. they will fine you, and if you don't want to pay the fine because you think it's unfair and you still serve trans-fats, they will send the police with their guns to arrest you. every little thing the government does is backed up by guns and force. in dallas these veterans of
foreign wars regulars got raided by the cops for playing low-stakes poker. >> what in the world is going on? >> it's enough to make you hide in your den and play poker online. too bad that's banned too. sometimes things get un-banned. chicago recently repealed its foie gras ban, but usually the ban wagon keeps rolling along. nothing is too important to be banned. selling kidneys is against the law even though undoing the ban might save thousands of lives. nothing is too silly to be banned. guess what can happen if you sell bacon-wrapped hotdogs in l.a. without expensive government --approved equipment. >> it's $1,000 or six months in jail. >> this woman was thrown in the slammer for 45 days for that heinous crime. it's amazing how long some bans have been around. gay sex was illegal in 13 states up until 2003. trading with cuba, that ban has been around for nearly 50 years, and even if they are uttered in the middle of the night, some words are still network no-nos. network no-nos. >> you put this on reason.tv.
do you always know how many people are looking them up? >> it's changed, we now put everything up at youtube so we have a pretty reliable view camp from that. i think a couple of interviews i did that were pretty awful might be in the low thousands, and then we have things that have hit 400,000. >> in your book you use a number of people to make your points. >> yes. >> nate silver? >> nate silver, blogger for the "new york times" exemplifies the ability to create a whole new way of working and even creating a whole new area of expertise. >> where do you start? >> he was at like peat marwick or something, or kpmg. he became a baseball blogger of note, and then he became a political blogger, where he was better at figuring out what was going on in politics than professional pollsters. >> speaking of baseball, bill james. >> yes, bill james is a hero to
both matt welch and i. he created what are called saber metrics, but brought a whole new way of talking about baseball and is now employed by the boston red sox, which is regrettable, of course. >> one of your favorite people in the book is robert mcnamara. >> sure. >> why? >> well, robert mcnamara you talked about exemplifying something, he exemplifies everything that is wrong, whether you're conservative or liberal, and certainly if you're libertarian, with the hubris of thinking that you know it all, that's the enemy, always and everywhere. >> what does it mean, that you can do your own videos, put them on youtube, on your website, we are never going back. >> right. >> to what it used to be. what do you think it really means on a long-term basis to people? >> what it is means is that i was lucky enough to grow up in a world that was much, much better than my parents or even my childhood, and i look forward to my kids enjoying stuff that i can't even imagine now, and we are not talking about watching
old reruns on ipads. within the next 20 years or 30 years the future will be much better, assuming that we get the parts of the world that politics control, squeezed down to where they should be. we are looking at a future that will be fantastic, and when it gets delivered it will seem banal to us, which is wonderful. >> is there any way for you to wrap in a little nutshell here as we run out of time. >> yes. >> what do you think of politicians? >> i try not to think of them. they are easily goaded in the right direction and the wrong direction, that's why what matt and i talk about as online swarms. motivated voters on single issues or tightly-knit sets of issues pushing politicians in the right direction. they are kind of like that thing on a ouija board you can move them with slightly with pretty light tension, or a light push, if you want to. we are starting to see that. the antiwar movement, marijuana legalization, pro-gay marriage, things like that.
>> first book? >> yes, first full-length book for me. >> anything special about writing a book that you'd like to leave us with? >> i want to point out that a lot of the book is kind of beyond matt welch who is a great collaborator, veronique de rugy who is both in my personal life and my public life, she's an economist at mercatus, helped out a huge amount, and on all sorts of levels. it was a great process and it was great working with somebody like matt welch just to bounce ideas off of and kind of refine things. it's always great to have a partner in crime. >> you can find nick gillespie at reason.tv, you can find him on reason magazine, and you can find him in this book with matt welch called "the declaration of independents, how libertarian politics can fix what's wrong with america." we thank you. >> thank you.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. to give comments on this program, visit us at q-and- a.org. the programs are also available as podcasts. >> tomorrow on c-span, house financial services ranking member party frank is an update on implementing the federal regulations law and consumer protection act. watch live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. tomorrow on c-span, president obama speaks at a white house news briefing about the debt and
deficit reduction talks. we'll have live coverage starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern, here on c-span. next, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. this week, prime minister david cameron took questions from members about allegations that journalists packed into the cell phones of numerous individuals. prime minister karen described the revelations as disgusting, and on friday announced the launch of two separate inquiries. this is half an hour. >> questions to the prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i am sure the whole house will wish to join the in paying tribute to the fourth battalion, the royal regiment of scotland. this week, i witnessed firsthand the sacrifice of our soldiers. i pay tribute to the bravery and
dedication of this particular soldier who was lost under such tragic circumstances. our thought will be with his family and friends at this very sad time. we pay tribute to him and all who serve our country in afghanistan and elsewhere. this morning had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> i agree with the sentiments the prime minister has made. it is a dreadful thing thinking one day you will get that knock on the door that he is lost in action. our sympathies go with his father and mother. is it right that yesterday's, which gave 10 billion pounds to the bailout to the banks in
greece. we give 7 billion pounds to the bailout in ireland. we give 100 billion a year to the banks in this country for insurance purposes. why does the prime minister not go down to his friends in the city? ? instead -- >> we got the gist. the prime minister. >> first of all, mr. speaker, it is this government who has put a bank levee on the banks so they are paying more in every year than they paid in the bank bonus tax under the last government. in terms of greece, i